Showing posts with label St James Conservation Area. Show all posts
Showing posts with label St James Conservation Area. Show all posts

Sunday, 25 September 2016

New Hut for the Waiau Pass area

A replacement for Caroline Creek Biv...

Good news for all Te Araroa trampers and those with plans to cross Waiau Pass at some stage. The dilapidated 2 person bivouac at Caroline Creek on the Waiau Pass route is being replaced with a new 10 bunk hut over the summer of 2016/2017.

Existing bivouac at Caroline Creek from Wilderness

There is an article in the October Wilderness magazine detailing how $300 000 has been donated for a new hut to replace the totally inadequate bivy which exists in the area presently.

I imagine it will be like the Poulter Hut which is the standard 10 bunk DOC hut design at the moment.

Poulter Hut from
The hut was finished in January of 2018, it is located about three kilometres further down the Waiau River Valley from Caroline Creek Biv. It has been named Waiau Hut, it is a standard 6 bunk DOC design similar to Magdalen and Crow Huts. This is a lot smaller than first discussed but is still mightily useful as a hut was badly needed at this location..

Waiau Hut, St James Conservation Area

Waiau Hut, St James Conservation Area

Waiau Hut, St James Conservation Area, Photo from DOC

Now, who is interested in crowd funding a new Casey Hut of the same design for the Mid Poulter River Valley......?

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Magdalen Hut, Lake Summer Forest Park: December 2012

A trip to Magdalen Hut, St James Conservation Area

I went up to the Lewis Pass area for an overnight trip in to Magdalen Hut on the St James Walkway, it was 9 km (4 hours walk) from the Boyle River Outdoor Education Centre. The centre offers a car parking and shuttle service, I left my car in their care and followed the St James Walkway back up the valley,  this is the opposite direction from those walking the complete walkway.

Start of the St James Walkway at the Boyle River entrance

Day One: Boyle Village to Magdalen Hut: 11 kms, 3-4 hours

DOC sign at start of the St James Walkway at Boyle river
   The track is in excellent condition, wide and easily followed, as befits one of the Te Araroa tracks.

Map: Boyle Village to Magdalen Hut on the St James Walkway

Sidle track, St James Walkway, near the start of the track at Boyle River
You cross over two swing bridges on the way to the hut. As you can see the rivers were high, as there had been a week of hard rain before I visited. Classic kiwi tramping, single track and swing bridges!

Lower swing bridge over Boyle River, St James Walkway
 You pass a number of meadows as you walk along, they were all covered in these beautiful yellow flowers , quite idyllic.

Forest meadow near the Boyle river swing bridge, St James Walkway
 The walkway follows the forest edge most of the way up the valley, the Boyle River Valley is a part of the Glenhope high country station.

View up Boyle Valley from mid way point to Magdalen Hut, St James Conservation Area

Looking up the Boyle Valley towards St Andrews Homestead, St James Conservation Area

Muddy track conditions on the St James Walkway

 There are occasional sections of track through the bush, some were quite muddy, but it had been raining for the previous week so its not surprising.

St James walkway, the highest point this trip, above the second Boyle River swingbridge
The river was bank to bank near the second swing bridge, normally you can ford this river lower down but only an idiot would have entered it that day.

Upper Boyle River swing bridge, St James Walkway

I stayed at Magdalen Hut, which is 30 mins from the second Boyle River swing bridge. You access it via a short track heading down the true left of the river. It is an excellent hut, with plenty of space around it for tenting, but the sand flies are atrocious. Beware!

Magdalen Hut, St James Conservation Area

Built in 2010, it is one of the new breed of 6 bunkers, spacious, insulated and with a top notch log burner and rain water tank. This would make an excellent family trip destination. Thanks to the Hanmer scouts who had visited and dropped off a load of dry wood for the hut fire.

Magdalen Hut: the cooking bench...

Magdalen Hut: the bunks with my gear laid out on my bunk for the night

I shared the hut that night with Phil, an American academic and hiker in New Zealand for a conference. It was interesting to share details about hiking/tramping culture and recent political events (just after the US election). An enjoyable evening.

The wood burner in Magdalen Hut, St James Conservation Area

Inside Magdalen Hut, St James Conservation Area in 2012

Day two: Magdalen Hut to Boyle Village: 11 kms, 3-4 hours

The route out followed the walkway back down valley, it was another beautiful day to be out tramping. I was up and out of the hut by 8 am, it was cool but no rain so I was able to walk without my jacket all the way back to Boyle Village.

Magdalen Hut, Muritana Stream in front of the hut

St James walkway, heading home along the edge of Boyle River

More attractive beech forest track on the St James Walkway

The track follows the edge of the forest over river flats for some distance in the middle of the valley, it makes for quick and very easy walking.

Boyle River Valley, about halfway to the Boyle Outdoor Education Centre from Magdalen Hut

Another meadow of Spring flowers on the St James Walkway
  This is the track just before it emerges near the Boyle Education Centre, as you can see it is quite civilised for a New Zealand bush track.

Track end St James walkway near the Boyle River exit

An excellent track, with a fantastic hut to stay in, I had a lot of fun on this trip. I would like to walk the whole St James Walkway and would definitely make the effort to visit the hut again.

Boyle Outdoor Education Centre from the road outside the centre

Access: Via the St James Walkway, from the Boyle River Settlement off SH 7, Lewis Pass
Track Times: 3-4 hours from Boyle Settlement
Hut Details: Magdalen Hut; standard, 6 bunks, wood burner, water tank, wood shed
Miscellaneous: Muritana Stream can be a problem in moderate rain, some other side streams on the St James Walkway are impassible in heavy rain